Rainbow Rowell

This is a book I’ve reviewed before. This time I split between the physical and audio versions of the book. I read more in the physical version because I got caught up in the story again. While very enjoyable the audiobook just didn’t move fast enough once I was pulled in. While still a very enjoyable book on this read I felt like it wasn’t quite as impressive as I remembered it being so I’ve knocked it down to A-

Rating: A-


One Con Glory

Sarah Kuhn

one con gloryGeek culture journalist Julie attends a comic-con with two purposes in mind.
The first to interview one of the stars of comicbook based TV show without insulting him…
The second is to win at auction the rare action figure of her all-time favourite superhero Glory Gilmore.
Needless to say this plan doesn’t run as smoothly as she’d like.
This is a thoroughly entertaining novella even if everything that happens is entirely predictable.

Rating: B


First & Then

Emma Mills

First & ThenThe first novel by Emma Mills is a high school set tale of families, friendships, loves and finding yourself.
Ms Mills is better known to me as the vlogger elmify. Her videos are usually sweet, goofy but always underpinned by her enormous smarts.
The book also matches that pattern.
The book feels like it takes place in a recognizably real world filled with real people. Lead characters Devon and Foster are particularly well drawn.
However, there’s just something about this book that never quite sparks into life. For all their reality I never felt invested in the character’s lives.
It’s still worth reading and I expect better books to come from her over the years.

Rating: B


The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

Gabrielle Zevin

the storied life of aj fikryA.J. Fikry is a bitter widower settling into drunken middle age when a baby is left in his bookshop.
This is a surprisingly moving story of a man returning to the world from deep depression through the love of a child.
I have to say this book is so much better than the plethora of generic romance novels I’ve ploughed through lately.
Highly recommended if you like contemporary fiction and have a bit of a sentimental streak.

Rating: A-


The Secret Diary Of Lizzie Bennet

Kate Rorick and Bernie Su

Secret diary of lizzie bennetAs I may have mentioned before (maybe more than once) I am a huge fan of the web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (just go watch – that link is a complete playlist) which is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. So what we have here is a novelization of a web series based on a novel. By any rights this should be a heinous cash in on the success of the show but somehow it turns out to be an entertaining read and offers a behind the scenes perspective that doesn’t just flesh out events but puts a new spin on things. Obviously it’s definitely not in the same league as a piece of literature as Austen’s original work.
Rorick, who is the principal writer here, wrote for the show and that results in a good translation of the characters and their personalities to the printed page. (Bernie Su was the chief writer, showrunner and director for the series and such wrote much of the material)
Overall, while the book is fun and has a couple of great moments, it doesn’t spark fully into life and frankly in places it must be really confusing for anyone who hasn’t seen the webseries. Also some of the puns don’t work if you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice.
I missed Ashley Clements – her performance as Lizzie in the show was extraordinary – and something is lacking without her to bring it to life. I guess that means I’ll have to buy the audiobook to see if her narration can take the story to another level.
As a fan I’m glad I don’t feel let down by the book and I look forward to the discussion on twitter and tumblr about some of the revelations the book delivers. If I’m being honest I suspect this is a real fans-only affair.

Rating: B+


Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore

Robin Sloan

mr penumbra's 24 hour bookstoreClay Jannon is an unemployed graphic designer and web developer who finds a job on the evening shift at a weird little 24 hour bookstore.
Pure boredom and intellectual curiousity combine so that he accidentally unlocks a secret about the bookstore draws him into adventure.
For some reason I kept expecting this story to go in different directions than it actually did. Something about the setup made me think of grand conspiracies and fantastic revelations and instead it kept on being charming and grounded in steady reality.
It’s certainly an enjoyable read and it has worthwhile things to say about the value of communities, the importance of archives and the need for open access to knowledge.
This one is recommended for those like their mainstream fiction on the quirky side.

Rating: B+


The Disreputable History of Franke Landau-Banks

E. Lockhart

THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKSFrankie Landau-Banks is one of the most interesting characters I’ve come across in a book in ages.
A sophomore at an elite Preparatory called Alabaster she discovers that her boyfriend is a member of a secret society. After he balks at every opportunity to tell her about it she takes an opportunity to use the group to her own ends.
I really enjoyed this book and I really like Frankie and share her frustration with the double standards which are applied to women. I would love to read another book set later in her career to see where that stylishly twisted and pin-sharp mind takes her.

Rating: A-


All My Friends Are Superheroes

Andrew Kaufman

all my friends are superheroesThis novella is mildly funny look at love and relationships.
On Tom’s wedding day his new superhero wife The Perfectionist is rendered unable to see her new husband by her arch-enemy Hypno.
Tom spends the rest of the story attempting to become visible to her again.
Every one of the superheroes powers is an amplified personal quirk which the author seems to think is funny and clever but it came across as a bit heavy handed to me.
It’s a very quick read and worth checking out of the library like I did.

Rating: B+